kevintporter’s review published on Letterboxd:
I think this and the preceding movie have shifted my guts around a little.
I’ve been 31 for a few weeks, yesterday was already the day I was thinking a lot about my core deficiencies. I was thinking about taste signaling (what else are we here to do??), and my public championing of kind-core canon like Little Women and Paddington makes me feel like a craven sociopath doing a pathetic impression of a nice person. "Yes I've hurt people deeply but did you know I LOVE MR ROGERS??" (I started baking and delivering goods to people this summer, taking pictures of them as tribute. That often feels commensurate with this desperation masquerading as niceness).
I was thinking about how it feels like my primary talent has been my ability to gradually surround myself with quality people and hope no one can tell the difference between me and them (We call those leeches in the civilized world)
I was thinking about, aside from the driving and the taxes, it’s remarkable how much I still feel like a slow small child, like the movie Big but it just happened in real time so I’m stuck forever and can’t go back to the little boy body I belong in. And I was thinking about the people I’ve known in my life.
When I die, if I’m not having a stroke that makes me yell “HAM!” with my last breaths, I imagine myself thinking about the people I got to know. Wonderful people, exceptional people, smart ones who were funny and silly ones who were so compassionate. With some I will rest in the comfort we made together. With a few others I’ll be haunted by them and the gaps in which I could’ve known them and didn’t.
When it comes to the species of love Before Sunset is concerned with, I've felt in my life a persistent mental incompetence, like entire synapses are missing in my head that bridge the gap between the feeling and the word, the “simple action” Jesse speaks of. It’s eluded me. Or I’ve eluded it. I’ve never walked in daylight like they do. It is a feeling so base it seems chemical, but also it must be the sum of a lifetime spent making parts of myself severed and hidden. And there’s some benefit to that but it’s come at a price. I’m feeling the cost of it now.
Céline here is 32. I’m 31, and I’ve told myself a lot of stories about contentment and what really matters and how to be alive with kindness and dignity. Those stories feel like nonsense right now. When the movie finished I turned on a lamp in my living room, seething indiscriminate envy for fictional characters who walked in the daylight, communicated in tenderness, all with those open parts of themselves un-severed and unhidden, enduring capacities for joy and regret. I don’t think I’ve ever missed a plane.
This movie was great, awesome screenplay, dynamite chemistry between the two leads. Can’t wait to watch the next one, five stars!